Last night this country mouse was transported to the big city of Manhattan as I sat in a theatre in the Swedish countryside. I became for 3 hours 38 minutes, a city mouse.
I enjoyed the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s classic Russian novel, Eugene Onegin, composed in 1879.
This is one of my favorite operas as well as ballet. the title roles were played by opera’s most stunning voices:
Tatiana: Russian soprano, Anna Netrebko
Onegin: Swedish baritone born in the north Piteå, Peter Mattei
Lensky: Russian tenor, Alexey Dolgov
Olga: Russian mezzo-soprano, Elena Maximova
It would have been an entire title role cast had Dimitri Hvorostovsky been ale to sing in the lead role as Onegin. Unfortunately due to illness, the role was recast.
This opera synopsis:
Tatiana is a young girl fro a wealthy family who falls in love with Onegin who came to visit the family home with Lensky, the fiance of Olga. One of the highlighted scenes is when Tatiana tries to write a love letter to Onegin. It’s a tortuous time for her to try and put her feelings into words, as it would be for any young lady. The scene where Onegin returns the letter to Tatiana has had various interpretations. Some have been very mean to her, not caring for her feelings at all while others were a it more gentle in their refusal to accept her feelings. In this particular version, Peter Mattei who was Onegin was not so cruel in his words but his stern and rigid body language said it all. Tatiana was crushed.
Olga was pleased with Onegin’s flirting at a house party with dinner and dancing. This upset her fiance Lensky who challenged Onegin to a duel. His manhood had been tarnished in public as his fiance danced and frolicked with another man. Lensky played by the Russian tenor Alexey Dolgov delivered a heart wrenching aria at the site of the duel. He did not survive the duel, sadly.
Years pass and Onegin is once again at a dinner party of a rich nobleman. While he walked the room he spotted Tatiana and asked his host to introduce them. When he learned that she was his wife, he was beside himself with pain and regret. Not only had she grown into a beautiful woman but she now held a high position in Russian society.
The last scene was that of Onegin begging Tatiana to love him again and be his. It was, as always a very heart wrenching scene. Here is this tall very distinguished gentleman wrapped around Tatiana’s legs as he cried begging her to be his. He wanted her desperately to love him again. Although Tatiana still loves him, like most women who remember a first love that they never quite get over, she can not and will not leave her husband. With one last kiss, she walks away strong in her resolve to remain married. Onegin is a crumpled mess of tears, regret and disappointment on the stage floor. A very sad sight, indeed.
The beautiful music played by the Metropolitan orchestra was conducted by the British born Robin Ticciati. His feel and love for this score was clearly evident as his arms and hands waved his baton with such heart felt passion.
It was a lovely evening for this country mouse to transported to the Metropolitan Opera and be a city mouse.
Tatiana on the evening when she met Onegin
Peter Mattei as Onegin
Lensky payed by Alexey Dolgov just before the duel
Onegin spots Tatiana at the nobleman’s dinner party
Tatiana, all grown up played by Anna Netrebko
Onegin trying his best to plead his case and get Tatiana to love him once again